It struck me today that every question can have a simple answer, or a complex one, or many different ones. I don’t think any question is really simple.
Case in point: my East Anglian boy, aged 8, visits London. He has many questions, and we patiently answer them as best we can. Crossing Westminster Bridge after his first close-up view of Big Ben, he asks:
“Why is everything in London so overwhelmingly big?”
Why indeed? So many possible answers:
Because buildings need to be big for all the people who live and work here. (Cause and effect?)
Everything looks big because you’re not so big. And because you’re used to a small village. (Comparisons.)
To impress visitors like you. (Let’s explain the concept of status…)
Because of money. (And status. And they’re linked.)
It’s not really, compared to a lot of other places. (Comparisons again.)
Because it is. Look, there’s a boat. (Let’s avoid complicated discussions; we’re on holiday.)
Because of the Victorians. (But not just them.)
I’s not just about size. Look at the beauty and grandeur.
Oh look, another boat.